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How Mental Health Conditions Can Impact Physical Health



Mental health conditions and physical health problems are closely related, as people with one often experience both.


Results taken from a 2009 study shows there are higher rates of mental disorders in those who have medical diseases compared to people without them [1]. Of all medical disorders, chronic pain was the most common in those with and without mental illness. When looking at the relationship between the two, chronic pain was most frequent in those with mood and anxiety disorders. On the other hand, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes were more common in those without mental disorders [1].


When addressing the relationship between mental health and physical health, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is measured. When analyzing people with mental disorders and their physical health, those with cardiovascular diseases had the worst physical HRQOL. People with respiratory conditions had the worst mental HRQOL [1].


Overall, chronic physical conditions had less impact on HRQOL than mental disorders did, meaning that mental health may affect the quality of life much more than some physical health conditions [1]. Because of this, an emphasis is put on the relationship between chronic pain and mental illness. Depressive disorders may cause back pain that leads to future or chronic pain [1].


Another 2015 study suggests gender also plays a role in how mental health conditions can impact physical health. In men, anxiety disorders did not have an impact on HRQOL and had a mild effect on women [2]. Chronic pain did not affect HRQOL in men but did affect women. When looking at the study as a whole, any mood disorder accompanied by chronic pain was the most frequent comorbidity (two conditions existing at the same time) in both genders [2]. This suggests that mental illness and physical health are closely related.


References:

  1. Pinto-Meza A; Fernández A; Fullana MA; Haro JM; Palao D; Luciano JV; Serrano-Blanco A; “Impact of Mental Disorders and Chronic Physical Conditions in Health-Related Quality of Life among Primary Care Patients: Results from an Epidemiological Study.” Quality of Life Research: an International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19649768/.

  2. Baladón L; Rubio-Valera M; Serrano-Blanco A; Palao DJ; Fernández A; “Gender Differences in the Impact of Mental Disorders and Chronic Physical. Conditions on Health-Related Quality of Life among Non-Demented Primary. Care, Elderly Patients.” Quality of Life Research: an International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26590837/.


 


Contributors:

Author: Sophie Gangi

Editor: Liam Lynch & Kayjah Taylor

Health Scientist: Chantelle Moore


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